I’ve spent some of December with my family in Ohio and my grandparents were also been able to come down from Michigan. The last time I saw them was in the summer of 2013, so it’s been great to see them again.
On the morning of December 23, we had breakfast and chatted at the table. I can’t even remember where the conversation had begun, but my dad jokingly said “I know Kyle doesn’t believe it, but I’m going to heaven for putting up with the girls.” He was acknowledging that I don’t believe in a heaven, but kidded that he’ll certainly be going there for the rough time he’s had living with my mom and raising my two sisters. My grandma then said to me, “Oh, you still believe in god, I don’t care what you say. It’s too ingrained in you.” And I replied, “I’m fairly certain I don’t. If it is ingrained in me, that’s brainwashing.” Dad then jumped in and cut that thread of conversation.
I found this quite surprising, though, because I’ve discussed my non-belief with her before. She’s asked questions like “If you don’t believe in god, do you believe in the devil?” (No.) and “Do you believe in Christmas?” (Christmas is about spending time with family, so yes.) And those are just a few. I’d consider her a spiritual person, since she hasn’t practiced organized religion for a long time, and, from my perspective, has beliefs that wouldn’t be endorsed by the Catholic church in which she was raised.
The comment has stuck with me, as well as my surprise associated with it, and I wonder where her thought that I will again believe comes from. Does she think people who don’t believe in god are “bad” people, but doesn’t think I’m a “bad” person, and that’s how she reconciles the two beliefs? She’s believed in god her entire life, so perhaps it’s hard to comprehend someone who doesn’t? The prior day I said I didn’t have much of an attitude, so was she testing my patience?
I was raised to believe in a god and participate in organized religion, but a small amount of doubt combined with learning about the world’s religions grew into something I couldn’t ignore. Since my junior year of college, I’ve been an a-theist.
It also reminds me of a girl I dated a couple years ago who one day said something to the effect of, “I think you’ll believe in god again,” and figured it was just a matter of time before I did. I ended the relationship with her shortly after. Perhaps she meant it jokingly, but it rubbed me the wrong way. It’s a completely different mindset from what I have on the matter. And I don’t share that style of thinking. I really don’t want it around me in a romantic relationship. Mindsets in this area must match up.
Yes, my beliefs have changed since I was a child, and I can’t tell you for certain what I will or won’t believe in the future, but please don’t hope or expect I will believe in a deity again. I’ve invested a lot of time thinking about this topic and am much happier a person for it. This mindset is further reinforced as I go through my life. I’ll keep it indefinitely.